The “Work From Home” Experience

“Working from home” has always been a part of Leapfrog’s flexible work culture. But for the first time, the entire team is working remotely amidst the COVID-19 spread. While we want everyone to stay safe, this is also an opportunity for us to experiment remote-work on a large scale.

From the first fully virtual weekly all-hands to numerous Zoom calls and Slack messages, Leapfroggers have adapted the new normal! While we do miss interactions and random ‘hello’s and ‘hey’s and coffee talks, most of us are enjoying working from home. We even had a happy hour session on the last day of our 1st WFH week. Saugat Acharya, principal engineer at Leapfrog created a happy hour call to connect back with Leapfroggers. We started off checking in with everyone and then ended up playing Skribbl after a while. Skribbl is a creative game where you have to guess the word someone is drawing. It was really fun and we had a session full of laughter.

Virtual all-hands

150+ Leapfroggers attending the virtual all-hands.

I personally have felt super productive! My team is active on Slack and Zoom, so communication has not been a problem so far. It’s easy to track work using Jira. And, we can occasionally join in the #random channel in Slack for non-work related banter. However, the first few days of working remotely can be a pain as you start to mix your home and office routine. And, also social distancing is tough. I miss my work friends.

Let’s read what other Leapfroggers have to say about their experience so far!

Our principal product designer, Swapnil Acharya says, “I think the best thing about remote working is flexibility. You can really schedule your work and take a break when you want, how you want. In the past, I wasn’t a big fan of WFH with some people working from home and the rest in the office really made it difficult to sync (due to various factors, and you feel “nevermind, I’ll sync up with them when they’re in the office tomorrow”). But the situation has changed and you tend to really fit into the mold without exceptions. So, I think it’s become easier since everyone has been working from home.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to working from home. While you enjoy focussed hours to work, save commuting time and blare music as you wish, there are a few drawbacks. You’re probably eating more, tempted to take naps in work hours as the bed is where you work, and the internet is getting quite unreliable.”

Some tips for people facing similar struggles as eating more or wanting to take naps, find a place away from your bedroom to set up a home-office desk. This will help you focus and stay away from napping mid-way through work. Exercise and stretch whenever you can. Drink water when you feel tempted to eat something.

WFH setup

Swapnil’s home office set-up. Ain’t that cool?

Rajiya Rijal, project manager at Leapfrog shares,” working from home has helped me focus and save up on commute time. However, with kids at home, it is a struggle at times to manage family and work time. It is also difficult to collaborate and brainstorm as you heavily rely on technology.”

As Rajiya said managing time can be a struggle with kids at home. While setting up a work schedule and strictly following it can help, it would also be wise to ask for help from other family members at home. During important calls and meetings, communicate with your partners or other members in the family or even your child to stay quiet. A door sign saying, “in a meeting” could help, but it’s up to you to try.

Our senior software engineer, Sugam Shakya says, “While working remotely has definitely increased the productivity of work, I do miss interactions with people. All the interactions are made via zoom calls. Already feeling like the world is no more real. 😛 I definitely enjoy my family time since I am always around them but the need for socializing is amplifying.”

Yes, while most of us are in a productive zone, we definitely miss our co-workers and all the fun we had in the office. For that try to set up random group calls, where you can connect with your co-workers and even have virtual music sessions. (Well, why not?)

Leapfrog workspace

Empty workspaces at Leapfrog’s office.

Abhash Bikram Thapa, our principal product design manager manages people and teams. He says, “Open workspace often kills my focus, WFH helps me to work in isolation boosting my productivity. I can comfortably work in my pajamas and voice call on Slack or Zoom with people that I want to sync up with. I got to try apps like Jamboard, an alternative to a whiteboard that helped the team brainstorm for ideas. Meetings were efficient, must be Zoom’s 40min restriction making attendees focused on getting to a point. It was easier for me to moderate a meeting as well. People mostly don’t cut in between while another person is speaking.

Regardless, meeting in person is way faster and easier. I could just pop in their desk and get my answers or use my charms and gestures to influence people. 😀 It feels repetitive as days go by because you are talking and meeting a handful of people (your family). And of course, WFH means Work For Home as well. You need to help family members when you are home. You cannot ignore them, because you cannot cook food and do laundry for yourself 😀 ”

Staying productive during this critical time is a must. But make sure you are not overworking yourself. Disconnect from work when office hours are done and stop worrying about missing any messages or emails after hours. If something is really urgent, the person will take time to call you. As you would go home from office in normal days, stay away from office related work unless it’s really important.

Brainstorming session

Team virtually brainstorming during team meetings using Jamboard.

As per Sachit Bir Singh Dongol, a senior software engineer at Leapfrog, “the best thing about working from home is you can start work right after you wake up, so you’re never late for work. One of my biggest challenges has been waking up early for as long as I can remember. So this is probably one of the best things about working from home. Its distraction-free and I can focus on my work properly. Simply put, the productivity has increased and when you’re not tremendously busy, you can find some time to help out at home, play with your pets and stuff.

However, it gets kinda boring at times and without proper desk set up, working from home comfortably can be a pain. There’s is also this risk of having no internet backup. I can now relate to the quote- when you work from home, you live at work.”

The most important thing is to have a comfortable workspace set up at home. Don’t lie down in bed and work. Stretch whenever you can. Take short breaks and stroll around the house. Yes, it will get boring but we can always explore new things to do.

virtual team standups

One of the teams attending virtual daily stand-ups.

Here’s what our principal HR manager, Mamita Shrestha had to say about her experience:
“ I am an introvert so I am getting more time to be with myself, cooking, eating a lot( gonna lose my summer body 😛 ), cleaning around, meditating, doing yoga, and gardening. It seemed so nice but also realized I do miss people. I am loving the video calls when I get to see people’s faces. Even when I have nothing to say I want to a keep on being in video calls haha..I might as well turn into an extrovert soon.”

And finally, our senior software engineer, Sanjeev Shakya says, “WFH is so productive that, it’s still Wednesday but it feels like I’ve worked till Friday”. I couldn’t have summarized it in better words.

Our experience has been so far so good. If you want to improve your experience working from home, here are some other articles about remote work. We hope everyone is staying productive regardless of the country-wide lockdown.

Stay safe. Stay hustling. 🙂

Suja Manandhar

Suja Manandhar is a Business Development Officer at Leapfrog Technology Inc. She is an avid reader and loves to explore about the impacts technology creates in businesses.

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